NEW YORK – In the United States, 700 women die every year from labor and delivery complications.
The leading cause of maternal death is excessive, unexpected bleeding.
But now a high-tech system can alert doctors and nurses in real time if a woman is in danger.
First-time mom, Diana Romano loves spending every moment possible with 10-month old Leo.
Romano had a normal, healthy pregnancy, staying on the job as a doctor until right before Leo was due.
"When I went to my 39 week visit, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, so they decided to bring me in that night to be induced," Romano said.
Romano had a smooth delivery with no complications, which she said is the expectation for most women going into the delivery room.
"The majority of the time things go beautifully, but sometimes things can get scary," Romano said.
Three percent of women experience a dangerous hemorrhage during or after labor and delivery. It's not always easy to tell if a woman is in danger.
"The traditional way of monitoring blood loss is done by visual inspection, neaning we essentially look at the saturated pads and the operative field and make an estimate with our best guess what the blood loss is," said Dr. Daniel Katz, an obstetric anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai.
A cutting-edge system called Triton is taking the guess work out of monitoring blood loss by using an app to analyze the amount of blood on surgical sponges and equipment. Doctors or nurses calibrate the system using a barcode and then hold up sponges and pads in front of the computer or iPad camera.
"It will take pictures of surgical sponges and canisters and measure how much hemoglobin is on them," Katz said.
The system tallies how much blood is lost, which helps doctors decide in real time if a patient needs additional treatment or even a transfusion.
Triton a digital eye that Katz said helps even the most experienced obstetrician and their patients.
Katz said for situations that can't be scanned by the app, they use a Bluetooth-enabled smart scale. If a doctor types in the surgical tools that are being weighed, the computer can calculate blood loss that way.